Question Everything, Especially Yourself!
By Adam Crosthwaite
Irony has a funny way of rubbing your nose in your own mistakes, all Karmic puns intended. Let me tell you about my latest achievement regarding my not so suave moments of revelation in contrast to the graceful moments, as few and far between as those moments appear to be for me, at least in this current stage of mindset I am looking through.
As the story goes it was beautiful Arizona morning, only 96 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was late for an appointment, as usual. I slept in a few minutes, don’t you just love those handy little snooze buttons they install on alarm clocks? I ran out the door that morning racing to the gas station to grab my morning coffee. I knew I could make up for lost time on the freeway so an extra five minutes for fresh hot coffee wouldn’t hurt me any. I grabbed my coffee and pulled out of the parking lot to hit the freeway with the determined fierceness of the typical twenty something throwing caution to the wind. The 5.2 liter V8 under the hood of my 4×4 roared as I accelerated with all wheel drive power across the lanes into the fast lane on one of the most notorious stretches of freeway in Arizona. I checked my time and was right on schedule, nothing to worry about. I sipped my morning coffee as I flew past Cameros and Mustangs on my way across town, now on time to my meeting.
I arrived at my meeting ready to get to business. The coffee was just hitting the brain cells and I was fully awake. I arrived just in time too find out I was half an hour early! For the first time this month my gamble against time paid off. I WON! Or at least I was granted the temporary illusion of winning. This had been my pattern for as long as I can remember. For the last few months I had been becoming more and more aware of it as I have been working on overcoming my addiction to the thrill of last minute-itus. If only I had taken closer consideration to the warnings of my teacher about slowing down and paying attention to things.
I have been speeding through my days thinking only of how quickly I can get to where I am going, heeding no warning to the signs up ahead telling me to slow down and pay attention. I continually race ahead focusing only on how much faster I am moving than everyone else. That all changed as I opened my mailbox the other day when I received a nice fat-Fan letter from the city. This is never a good thing especially when you know you don’t live in the city where the letter was sent from. I opened it right away. There was a summons to court for this month and a picture of me driving my car on the freeway. I was nailed by photo radar.
Instantly I began to deny the validity of the ticket. I had my defense completely prepared in less than five minutes and I was ready to walk into court to demand a trial. I had all the angles covered. After all I sat in class for three years learning from judges, retired police detectives and sheriff’s deputies about the justice system. I have learned from the experience of law enforcement officers numerous techniques and a few tricks of the trade. Long story short I could possibly beat this. In fact I know some of the details about the speed radar used by police that the agencies really don’t want people to know. I was ready to stick it to the system. Could I be any more arrogant if I tried? It would seem that I have one more chapter to add to my book entitled “The Greatest Asshole Moments of My Life”, to borrow a phrase from Dr. Strickler.
As I sat on my little throne, confident in my decision, an image flashed in my mind. I remembered looking down at my speedometer and telling myself to slow down. The needle on the speedometer was sitting at 85 mph. Now this was not at the time of my ticket, however it was not uncommon for me to catch myself approaching mach 3 during rush hour. I hung my head and sighed. “I know, I know. I should know better”, I said out loud as I walked out of my personal throne room. For all the warnings I received from David and for all the discussions about slowing down and paying attention to things, I still had to receive a speeding ticket in order for the point to sink in.
Now I am faced with a fine, this being an inopportune moment in my life for added expenses, and time out of my already packed schedule to attend traffic school.
This has been a continuous pattern of self defeat in my path for as long as I can remember. Although this is my most recent incident in which I hit one of my personal barriers there are plenty of similar experiences to be revisited and questioned at a later time. As for this round, what may be a better question is why the hell was I running short on time and cutting corners, or in this case speeding down the freeway like car thief on a joy ride? I will spare you the barrage of questions I worked with over the course of the last few weeks. After all this is an article, not a novel.
This question has many answers to it which have lead to more questions, most of which I am sure will be answered in the coming days. Some of these questions I don’t expect to have answered for quite some time, but I still replay them augmenting the question, shaping it until I find an answer that will lead me on to a new question. I have come to see that I have a personal issue with time. Perhaps it is my distaste for limitation. There could even be a dose rebellion in this equation. So many questions can be extracted from this personal excavation, but in order to stay on track the main question I have been working on is, how do I lead myself into a corner? As it would seem I have lost control over an aspect of my life or at the very least I have finally been forced to recognize one that perhaps should have been dealt with sooner.
So who or what is control here? Yes it is possible that something else could be in control. . So what is it could be in control if not me? Is it some underlying need that I have overlooked, swept under the rug so to speak? What lead to this error and what can be done about it? I question carefully so as not to assign blame thus laying a trap for myself. Forget blame! After all it was my choice to stay up late and then sleep in. It was my choice to drive irresponsibly. It was even my choice to get a speeding ticket in order to learn to slow down and pay attention! Look at the response of a person experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they are being controlled by something nonphysical from within the psyche that is provoking a series of reactions within the physical senses.
People may consider this process tedious and pointless. After all it was just a speeding ticket. It is not the ticket that I am questioning. It’s not the events surrounding the ticket that are being questioned. The questions may begin at the events surrounding the ticket, but that is just a starting point. Now that I have been processing this over the past few weeks by questioning and answering then returning a day or two later to the same question I noticed some very interesting reactions within myself as I continue to dig.
People who choose not to question themselves are doing nothing more than practicing the art of ignorance. I call it an art because it would appear that people take pride in the craft of insulating themselves from truth. In turn they become bait for those that seek to control the lives of others, as evidenced by the multiple crises brewing around this country.
A lot of people I have listened to are complaining about the state of things in this country, yet I hear no questions about why things are the way they are. I listen to them complain about things they believe they have no control over until I finally lose all patience and start to question their point of view. Most people surrender in an attempt to save face by agreeing with whatever I say without question. I know I am not an authority by any measure and yet people still worry about looking like a fool in front of me. While my ego is gracious enough to accept this shallow gesture of respect, the rest of me laughs and at times feels like crying for these poor ignorant minds. I am not that damn important. No one living in the mundane world is important enough to demand the blind respect of ignorant minds. It never ceases to amaze me the levels of false humility people would sink to in order to look good in the eyes of those around them. I would almost prefer they attempt to change the subject or at least stare back at me in disbelief.
It would appear that people are responding to themselves as if they were experiencing some form of intense physical or emotional trauma. By focusing on the pain and not the cause people tend to remain in the state of “woe is me”. When they are no longer focusing on the pain they seek a scapegoat to pin the blame on playing shadow tag with themselves in the dark. Personally I got tired of playing with myself in the dark a long time ago. Instead they should be looking at the situation they find themselves in and find out why things are the way they are and how to change them for the better, and how to maintain a positive change to ensure the negative events leading to the situation do not repeat.
As cruel as we humans can appear to be at times no one is as cruel to us as we are to ourselves. No one can set traps like we can through the subconscious responses we set into motion through our thoughts and actions. Dr. Strickler has been working with me on my approach to life. I have come to see through both aggravation and observation that I have yet a long way to go before I make headway with my questioning process. Although I have witnessed the fruits of this process over the last two years I still find myself presented with questions I haven’t thought of yet as I spend time with my Spiritual Mentor. Without an objective viewpoint or sounding board this path stays dark and increases in difficulty.
Dr. Strickler tells us of the teachings from the old schools of the Q-Tradition. Inscribed above the entrance was the phrase, “Know Thyself”. Of course this was not written in English, in the Egyptian temples it was ‘NUK PU NUK’. Without the questioning of the self and the guidance of a Master this task was impossible. We all travel through darkness at one time or another along the path of life as it leads us through this world. The question I asked myself was, “Are you going to take that time to play with yourself in the dark, or are you going to reach out and question the darkness as you find the switch that turns on the light”? I suppose it depends on whether or not you require a speeding ticket or some other form of slap up side the head to get one’s attention.
Pain lets us know that something is wrong. The problem in our society in all age groups is that we have mastered the commercial art of avoidance. Judging from the looks of the current world scenario, hopefully there is enough pain for us to seriously consider waking up and doing something about it.